Watchdog Files 3 Lawsuits to Uncover Information on Trump Administration’s Rollback of Access to Family Planning Services

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 27, 2018

Contact: Daniel Stevens, dstevens@campaignforaccountability.org, 202.780.5750

WASHINGTON – Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA), a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog group focused on public accountability, filed three Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. State Department, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) regarding the Trump Administration’s efforts to rollback access to family planning services.

Read the complaints here.

CfA Executive Director Daniel E. Stevens said, “The Trump administration appears hellbent on preventing women around the globe not just from receiving family planning services, but even from learning about their options. CfA is suing to discover who is pushing these antediluvian policies.”

The first lawsuit seeks records related to the administration’s implementation of the so-called Mexico City policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule.  Last April, President Trump said the U.S. would withhold “funding from international non-governmental organizations that counsel or refer for abortions, or advocate to decriminalize and expand access to abortion.”  In September 2017, CfA asked the State Department, USAID, and HHS to release their communications with anti-choice groups regarding the implementation of the policy.

The second lawsuit seeks records related to the administration’s efforts to weaken women’s healthcare under the Affordable Care Act by removing funding for Planned Parenthood and eliminating the contraceptive mandate. In November, CfA asked HHS for its communications about these policies with anti-choice groups, but HHS has failed to respond.

The third lawsuit seeks communications between officials who joined HHS after working for anti-choice organizations and their former employers.  For instance, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Charmaine Yoest previously worked as president and CEO of Americans United for Life and as vice president of the Family Research Council.  In November, CfA asked HHS for Ms. Yoest’s communications and calendars, and for those of several other officials who  joined HHS from anti-choice groups including Alliance Defending Freedom, Concerned Women of America, and the Susan B. Anthony List.

Click here to read CfA’s FOIA requests.

Stevens continued, “Americans need to learn not only about the administration’s efforts to undermine the ability of some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable women to avoid unwanted and unplanned pregnancies, but also who is behind these regressive policy decisions.”

Campaign for Accountability is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, nonpartisan watchdog organization that uses research, litigation and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.